Merck Manual

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Some Causes of Noninfectious Meningitis

Some Causes of Noninfectious Meningitis




Cancer that has spread to the brain from other parts of the body (metastatic cancer), as can occur in leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, or breast or lung cancer

Rupture of a brain cyst

Drugs that suppress the immune system (used to treat autoimmune disorders and inflammation or to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ)



Cytosine arabinoside

Immune globulin given by vein (intravenously)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, sulindac, and tolmetin

Other drugs

Certain antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, isoniazid, and penicillin

Carbamazepine (an antiseizure drug)

Phenazopyridine (used to treat urinary symptoms)

Ranitidine* (used to treat stomach ulcers)

Sulfa drugs, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic) and sulfasalazine (used to treat ulcerative colitis)

Substances that are injected into the subarachnoid space† for treatment or diagnosis



Chemotherapy drugs

Radiopaque contrast agents used in imaging tests

*Ranitidine (taken by mouth, intravenously, and over the counter) has been removed from the market in the United States and in many other countries because of unacceptable levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a substance that probably causes cancer.

†The subarachnoid space contains cerebrospinal fluid and is located between middle and inner layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges).